In an influenza pandemic, persons of all ages may require two vaccination doses provided 21 days apart to establish seroprotection. Even with frequently prescribed immunizations, completing a dosage sequence might be difficult. To prepare for a two-dose influenza pandemic vaccine campaign and to encourage dose-series completion and correct dosing intervals, the CDC and its partners created a text message-based vaccine reminder system to remind people who received the first dose of pandemic influenza vaccine to get the second dose. Taking use of the widespread use of mobile phones in the United States, the system provided second-dose text message reminders and links to instructional content. The approach was pilot-tested among graduate public health students from November 2015 to April 2016 at four US colleges. Universities were chosen based on their convenience, and each employed a distinct recruitment approach.
About 57 (92%) of the 59 volunteers who pilot tested the system and completed a survey thought it would be useful during a pandemic. 40 (68%) respondents thought the information in the messages was informative. Volunteers suggested that actionable measures to keep healthy during a pandemic be included, while detailed recommendations varied. Text reminder systems, with further development, might be used to increase adherence to a two-dose regimen in a future pandemic, albeit audience-specific messaging and other complementing systems are likely to be required.
Public and private partners might adapt and use the proposed solution in conjunction with existing usual patient information systems to increase dose-series completion and assure optimal protection during an influenza pandemic.